A media production company which has worked on blockbuster films and world-tour concerts has swapped London for Sunderland.
Sensel Studio, whose showreel includes Murder on the Orient Express, the Fast and the Furious and numerous Amazon and Netflix productions, has moved to the historic Mackie’s Corner in the heart of Sunderland city centre.
The move has seen the company, which specialises in virtual productions, designing workflows, engineering pipelines and live events, move its entire operation to the North East to capitalise on ‘the region’s growing screen industry’.
“We made the decision to move to Sunderland as we could see the huge potential in its growing screen and tech industries,” said Chris Simcock, founder and managing director.
“When you look at the development of Crown Works Studios, the recent announcements by BBC and Channel 4 to produce more shows here and the University’s continued investment into its media production courses, there is just so much potential.”
Sensel officially moved into Mackies Corner in September following the completion of work on The Co.llective, a suite of ‘individually crafted workspaces designed specifically to meet the needs of creative businesses.’
Located in Sunderland city centre, the office is just a short drive from the proposed £450 million Crown Works Studios development, which took a major step forward this week [20 Nov] with the official submission of a planning application.
“We knew it was perfect for us as soon as we saw the place,” he said. “It had a real sense of history and was just a breath of fresh air.
“As a creative business, we love the idea of a collective and all of the neighbouring studios we’ve met are of similar mindset.
“It feels like a collective of creative free spirits but all who are keen to grow their interests commercially and give back to the community.”
Chris’ decision to leave London for the North East of England also coincided with a post-lockdown realisation that, due to the company’s global reach, there was no real need for the company to be anchored in the bustling capital.
“Covid made me realise that we could do business anywhere and being based in London wasn’t necessarily an advantage,” he said.
“By coming to the North East, we can tap into top talent from the university, which is something we’re keen to do as we recruit over the next 12 months.
“We’re right near the sea, just a short drive from countryside and are only an hour’s drive from the airport which can get us wherever we need to be at short notice. Once we factored everything in, it was just an absolute no brainer.”
Alex Kirtley, managing director of Mackies Corner developer, Kirtley Co, said: “The idea behind The Co.llective was to bring to market the workspace required to help grow the city’s creative sector and the arrival of Sensel Studio show how it’s already doing just that.
“To have a business which could have up sticks to anywhere in the world choosing to relocate to Sunderland shows just how appealing an offer the city’s offer is at the moment and we’re delighted to be playing a part in that.”
Sensel Studio was supported during its move to the city by the Business Investment Team at Sunderland City Council who worked with Chris and the team to identify the perfect premises.
Cllr Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member at Sunderland City Council, said: “Our growing screen and tech industries have really put Sunderland on the map over recent years and this is a prime example of that.
“From the city’s 5G roll-out to the arrival of North East Screen, Crown Works Studios proposals and the regeneration of Riverside Sunderland, Sunderland is a city transforming and we are delighted that Sensel Studio are joining us on our journey.”